For some time now, there has been a lot of attention placed on recording your life story. Self-publishers across the country have written their memoirs. Perhaps all this activity is a feeble attempt to achieve a bit of immortality.. Or maybe it’s just another case of the boomers overestimating their inherent importance to the world!
In my case, I became interested in memoirs after visiting New Orleans and touring the Laura Plantation, a fine example of a Creole Sugar plantation. Laura Locoul Gore, the author of the book, Memories of the Old Plantation Home, details the daily lives of the family members and slaves who worked to make the sugar farm a going concern.
What was most compelling about the Laura story, however, is the very clear mandate, inherited by the women of the family, to keep a diary and to later write down an account of their lives. Had it not been for these recorded records, the Laura Plantation would have crumbled to dust just as so many others have done through the years. Laura’s children and grandchildren, and indeed all of us, are richer for having her first-person narrative of life as a Creole in New Orleans in the 1800′s.
Why do my Memoirs?
I don’t have a story like Laura’s. But I am sure that Laura didn’t think her story was exceptional either. The fact is that any story that details the lives of a group of people at a given time period in history can be fascinating to those who read it 100 years later. Even the children and grandchildren of the writer have much to gain by an insight into the political and social currents that were sweeping the country in the years before they were born.
I was born in another country and came to America as an immigrant just a few years after the end of World War II. My life, while not unusual or unique, will still be interesting to my children. My parents had survived a brutal war and this survival colored their lives for many years as it colored mine and the lives of my sisters. And of course, America was another world then, even to its citizens. The pace of life was slower and the children who grew up during this time were eventually destined to usher in the most frenetic society in history.
So I’m hard at it. I’ve finished about 150 pages with photos and each day that passes, I find myself jotting down notes of things I had forgotten to include. I know that this memoir will not be an impartial accounting of my life. It will be born with all the weaknesses and prejudices that I have and I am sure that it will also reflect a big dose of forgetfulness. I never kept a journal so I have been working with memories. June is my month to finish this project. Wish me luck and I will keep you posted!